Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, director general, Saudia
Jeddah: Saudia, the national carrier for Saudi Arabia, is now entirely self-financing, according to a senior executuve of the airline.
Saleh bin Nasser Al Jasser, Director General of Saudia, said the airline is no longer receiving any government subsidies and is standing on its own two feet.
The comments, reported by a local newspaper, were made in a media gathering last week.
“We have successfully cut expenses and seek to boost revenue by offering high-quality service and by expanding fleet,” he said.
Moving away from state subsidies in its operations is part of its plan – as well as that of its new low-cost sibling, Flyadeal – to launch its IPO before the end of 2020.
The use of subsidies has been a major source of contention between Middle East airlines and their international partners, particularly those from the US, over the last two years – prompting intervention from US President Donald Trump.
US carrier United Airlines terminated its ticketing and baggage interline agreements with Saudia and four other Middle Eastern carriers in May last year, citing the airline’s continued access to state subsidies.
It’s been a positive few weeks for Saudia. The carrier’s loyalty programme, Al Fursan, added over 850,000 new members in 2017, while it just opened its brand new office in India’s capital, New Delhi.